Monday, June 07, 2010

What is Vivian Swift reading?

The current featured contributor at Writers Read: Vivian Swift, author of When Wanderers Cease to Roam (Bloomsbury, 2008).

Her entry begins:
I recently read Travels with Charley (In Search of America) for the first time, to learn how to write a real travel narrative. I’m at work on my second book, a real, honest-to-goodness travel book about a road trip in France, and I thought I’d better find out how the “Masters” do it, but this book really annoyed me. I don’t know if it was the lack of humor in Steinbeck’s moralistic narrative (grandiose generalities are a traveler’s prerogative, but most travel writers have the good sense to temper them with a little self-deprecation) or if it was that passage about the niftiness of trailer parks (So spontaneous! So unfettered!) or the over-all skimpiness of his material (208 pages for a 10,000-mile journey??) but I read it as a cautionary tale. I recommend the book only as an excellent example of...[read on]
Among the praise for When Wanderers Cease to Roam:
With its lacy, square cover, When Wanderers Cease to Roam: A Traveler’s Journal of Staying Put (Bloomsbury 2008) is not a memoir I would have picked up if I hadn’t heard about it first. I’m so glad to be reading it. Each night I get lost in Vivian Swift’s reminiscence of her years traveling the globe, alongside her meticulous and thought-provoking observations (and tender drawings and paintings) of the backyard world she discovered when she decided to hang up her luggage. Through her beautiful memoirs “in miniscule chapters” and her close readings of raindrops and mud, her journey speaks to me.
--Bonnie J. Rough, author of Carrier: Untangling the Danger in My DNA
Visit Vivian Swift's website and blog.

Writers Read: Vivian Swift.

--Marshal Zeringue